Earlier this week, a few readers asked about a more in-depth look at EJ Biggers' game. Readers wanted to know how his game broke down. Is he an outside corner? Can he play in the slot? Does he have big-play ability? Is he a better man-to-man CB or a zone CB? Is he a 1 year band-aid player or will he be re-signed next off-season when the Redskins have more money? I checked out the Buccaneers schedule and saw that he started a game against the Eagles. Being with the Redskins now, it only made sense to break down his tape against a team he will be playing against twice a year. Here are the results:
Here, EJ Biggers is matched up one-on-one with Riley Cooper. Cooper is running an out-route.
Biggers doesn't press Cooper (a good thing, I'll explain why later) but rather mirrors him and stays in his "back pocket."
When Cooper makes his cut, Biggers is able to stay close. Foles delivers the ball on time but Bigger's gives him nowhere to throw it and bats the pass away. INCOMPLETE PASS.
The second play is a good example of why I was glad he didn't press Cooper on the first play. Biggers is locked up against Cooper again. This time, Cooper is running a fly route.
Although Biggers is 6'0," he's only 185 lbs. He needs to add upper body strength (Granted, Cooper is 6'4" 225 lbs). Biggers attempts to press Cooper but he lunges and Cooper chucks him aside and turns up-field.
The play ultimately ends in a sack but if it had been an NFL QB that WASN'T a rookie, or if Foles had been more decisive, he would have thrown to Cooper as soon as he had created that separation from Biggers. NFL QB's only need a window and Cooper has 3 1/2 yards. SACK.
The 3rd play we'll look at, has twins (2 WR) to Biggers' side. He has man coverage on the the outside WR (Maclin). Maclin is running a corner route (or flag) and the inside WR (Avant) is running an out.
Biggers attempts to press his WR again but not succesfully. Maclin blows past it and heads up-field.
It was clear when watching the play live that the route combination was designed as a "pick-play" (positioning yourself in a way that your teammate will be able to get away from the person who is covering them). It's illegal when it's blatant, but if Biggers was able to press his WR correctly, we wouldn't be talking about this.
Look at the seperation by the end of this play. The play ended up being a sack again but if the Oline had given Foles time, Foles could have read this coverage breakdown and hit his man on the sideline. SACK.
On the 4th play we'll look at, Biggers is matched up with Riley Cooper again. As you can see, Cooper will be running a deep in route.
Hoping Biggers doesn't press again? Unfortunately, he does and Cooper pushes him inside while "swim-moving" his press.
This time, Biggers shows great recovery speed and keeps the distance between the two to a minimum. Biggers doesn't need to be stride-for-stride with him here because he has safety help over the top.
Biggers mirrors Cooper's inside cut but unfortunately Nick Foles throws a great ball where only his WR can get it. PASS COMPLETE: GAIN OF 16 YARDS.
The last play in man-to-man coverage (from the outside CB position) that we'll look at has Biggers vs. Cooper once again. Cooper is running a comeback route.
Biggers doesn't press this time but makes contact about 5 yards downfield towards the top of Cooper's route.
Look at the separation that that contact caused. Cooper didn't fully extend his arm on the push-off yet Biggers bounced backwards about 5 yards. PASS COMPLETE: GAIN OF 5.
The first Cover-3 play we will look at has Biggers covering the top 3rd of the field. Riley Cooper will be running another comeback. Notice the Buccaneers disguise their coverage with a Cover-2 look at first.
After the hike of the ball, the Buccaneers shift into their Cover-3 and Biggers is responsible for being the deepest man in his 3rd of the field.
Cooper sits down on his comeback route as Biggers tries to stop and catch up. Not much Biggers can do here because his coverage is designed to stop the deep routes. PASS COMPLETE: GAIN OF 10.
Here's another Cover-3 disguised as a Cover-2. Biggers is at the top of the field, lined up over WR Jason Avant. Avant is running a fly route. A route the Cover-3 defense is specifically suppose to stop.
After the hike, they shift to their Cover-3 and Biggers stays over the top of Avant.
Biggers uses the sideline as an extra defender and continues to squeeze Avant closer to it as the fly route continues. Foles lets it rip and even though Avant actually catches the ball (which Biggers gave him no room to do), Biggers has forced him so close to the sideline that Avant can't get his feet in-bounds. INCOMPLETE PASS.
In the Slot:
The first play we will look at in the slot has EJ Biggers locked up in man coverage on Jeremy Maclin. Maclin will be running an out route.
Biggers stays smooth in his back-pedal and mirrors Maclin. When Maclin breaks, Biggers explodes off his back foot.
Foles delivers the pass on time but Biggers under-cuts the route and is there to knock the ball away. INCOMPLETE PASS.
The second play featuring Biggers in the slot shows Riley Cooper motioning from the outside WR to the slot WR. His route is a skinny post or fly depending on how you look at it.
As you could see, Cooper was already moving at the snap and he turns up-field quick. With only 3 yards between them, Biggers is still in his back pedal.
Cooper runs right past Biggers and is wide open. If not for the pass rush that prevented Nick Foles from stepping into this pass, this would have been a touchdown. INCOMPLETE PASS.
The last play we will look at is this 4th down play. Here's the scenario: It's 4th and 5, 16 seconds left in the game and the Eagles are down 16-21. Biggers is playing man-to-man coverage against Jason Avant in the slot. Avant will be running a Post (with a subtle step out so it looks like a corner).
Avant passes Biggers on the outside. It looks like Biggers is expecting a shorter route, possibly because it's 4th and 5. Whatever the reason, it, combined with the step to the outside, causes a good amount of separation.
Jason Avant bends his route back to the inside and catches the ball behind EJ Biggers and in front of the safety. He is tackled at the 2-yard line. PASS COMPLETE: GAIN OF 22. Unfortunately, Nick Foles hurries the Eagles up to the line and spikes the ball with 2 seconds left. The next play, Foles throws a touchdown and the Eagles beat the Buccaneers.
This is nothing to get too worried or excited about. It was only one game therefore it was a small sample size. You can see reasons why Biggers wasn't signed on the first day of free agency but you can also see pieces that he has that will be good to build on. He's young and inexpensive. He needs to add more strength to his upper body and improve his press technique. I know he was playing some slot CB at Redskin's OTAs but I would prefer him to remain on the outside. I would also be a little nervous seeing how he holds up in man coverage on a Cover-0 blitz. When the season rolls around, Biggers will probably be the first CB off the bench when the Redskins need more than two so here's hoping he can take the talents he has an build upon them to help us in 2013 and possibly beyond.